MELBOURNE & OLYMPIC PARKS
What’s it like? Tennis fans would be familiar with the Australian Open, which is held each January at Melbourne Park and its complex of venues that includes Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court, both named after Australian tennis legends. Olympic Park has long been a cradle of the city’s sporting events with stadia hosting the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. The Melbourne & Olympic Parks today is a sports precinct with stadia hosting the city’s soccer, cricket and other professional sports along with concert arenas.
For groups Suites and private boxes for watching the games are available in keeping with the modern sport’s corporate dimension. Catering at the tennis complex matches the high level of service, both from the catering staff and any tennis stars groups may be watching in action. Indoor and outdoor events can also be held that combine venues at each of the arenas.
What’s it like? Surrounded by parkland and overlooking bends of the Yarra River, the 19th century buildings were once the home of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, an order of nuns who provided food and shelter for disadvantaged women and children. The venue is now an arts, education and cultural centre with catering for groups provided by Bursaria Fine Foods, which also manages functions and events at Abbotsford.
For groups The Rosina Function Space has a banquet capacity of 280, while the adjoining courtyard holds 250 for cocktails or 100 seated. Meetings and event spaces also come in the form of the Bishop’s Parlour, the Sheet Room, the Industrial School, and the Community and Linen Room – the original names of the venues from Abbotsford’s oft-bleaker days when young women laboured in its industrial laundry.
ENCORE, ST KILDA
What’s it like? Based at the St Kilda Sea Baths and at a vantage point for the neighbourhood beach, Encore provides an event haven where organisers can combine seminars, product launches and an Aussie BBQ event within sight of beach volleyball and the locals enjoying the sands nearby.
For groups Avoid Melbourne’s rush-hour traffic when those lucky enough to live in this suburb are heading home and getting ready to enjoy… St Kilda Beach; otherwise the scheduled travelling time from the CBD is 10 minutes. An onsite events team at Encore handles everything from socials to mini-conferences and nearby hotels include Rydges and Novotel.
What’s it like? For as far back as local history goes – to 1891 in this case – the impressive stone building along St Kilda Road has been an institution of some sort. At one time it was a facility for the blind, but today it is managed by The Big Group and was the scene for the AIME 2018 Welcome Event.
For groups The Victorian-style interiors such as the main hall and bar are a sight to behold, but Solution Entertainment also let their creative performers wow audiences in the garden area with burlesque-style acts, including Anna Lumb’s bottle walk, hula hoops, aerial acrobatics, and oompah jazz beats from the Horns of Leroy.
OLD MELBOURNE GAOL
What’s it like? Heritage appeals, especially to event planners seeking atmospheric backdrops, and Old Melbourne Gaol and Magistrates Court has this all locked in. The prison is now a museum under the care of National Trust Australia (Victoria), which appointed Showtime Event Groups as the exclusive caterer. Corporate groups can look forward to captivating events both in the lawned grounds and eerie interiors where between 1842 and until 1929, when the prison was closed, 133 hangings took place. Those who took their last steps to the long drop here included Ned Kelly, the legendary bushman.
For groups The venue was the scene for Melbourne Convention Bureau’s AIME 2018 welcome cocktails, with delegates enjoying music, canapés and speeces on the lawn before being led into prison, where each cell told a story of its ill-fated occupant. On the first landing is death row, the platform where Ned and so many others met their end.